With two weeks remaining, December has become the worst month for COVID-19 in Anderson County.
The number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations this month have all passed November’s totals. Until now, November had been the worst month.
In the first 16 days of December, 1,354 new cases of COVID-19, 14 deaths, and 22 hospitalizations were reported in Anderson County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Those are all higher than the 1,239 cases, 13 deaths, and 21 hospitalizations reported in the 30 days of November.
The new case total for December passed November’s total on Tuesday. The death and hospitalization totals passed November’s totals on Wednesday.
There have been 4,461 COVID-19 cases in Anderson County since the pandemic began March 20. About 30 percent of those cases have been reported this month. More than 5 percent of the county’s roughly 77,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
In the 10 days since December 7, including that Monday, 1,100 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Anderson County. That’s an average of 110 new cases per day. A few weeks ago, the 14-day daily case average was 48.5.
There have been 43 deaths during the pandemic, with about one-third of the deaths occurring this month.
There have been 92 hospitalizations, with roughly one-quarter of them reported this month.
The county’s fatality rate, comparing the number of reported deaths to the number of reported cases, was about 1 percent (0.96 percent) on Wednesday. That is in the range where it seems to have been for some time, between about 0.7 percent and 1 percent. The hospitalization rate was roughly 2.1 percent.
It’s not clear what percentage of patients in Anderson County have no symptoms or mild symptoms, what percentage of patients have moderate to serious symptoms, and what the long-term effects might be.
The positivity rate in the county has remained very high, close to 20 percent. On Wednesday, the seven-day average of the positivity rate, which compares the number of positive test results to all new daily tests, was 17.3 percent, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. World Health Organization guidelines have called for a positivity rate below 5 percent for 14 days before activities re-open.
This second surge in Tennessee is much worse than the earlier July peak. Tennessee reported about 110,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the first 16 days of December. There have been three recent days where the state’s new case count topped 10,000—11,352 new cases on Sunday, December 13; 10,319 new cases on Monday, December 14; and 11,410 on Wednesday, December 16.
On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 484,285 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early March. About 23 percent of those cases were reported in December, a partial month.
More than 5,000 people have died due to COVID-19 in Tennessee. On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported a total of 5,668 deaths since the pandemic began. Fifty-three new deaths were reported Wednesday. More than 1,000 deaths—1,066—have been reported so far this month in the state, about 19 percent of the total.
Current hospitalizations remain at all-time highs. There were 2,874 patients currently hospitalized on Wednesday, an increase of 68 from Tuesday, according to the state health department. The current hospitalizations are up almost 600 from the end of November, when there were 2,290 current hospitalizations.
The state reports that 12 percent of hospital beds are available (1,334 of 11,481), and 8 percent of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available (168 of 2,045).
The statewide positivity rate remains high. It was 17.75 percent on Wednesday.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can contact John Huotari, owner and publisher of Oak Ridge Today, at (865) 951-9692 or [email protected]
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